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Barbury Castle



New Visitor Centre planned for Barbury Castle

As reported in the local newspaper:

PLANS to help turn a historic monument into a tourist hub are now in motion.

The council aims to auction off the land surrounding the Iron Age fort of Barbury Castle, and use the cash from the sale to build a visitor centre.

The centre would cost around a £250,000 and would offer tourists a proper set of displays and information about the ancient monument ...

(click on link for full article)
tjj Posted by tjj
14th September 2011ce
Edited 14th September 2011ce

Comments (6)

Not too sure about this, it sounds like it might spoil the feeling of the site somewhat. Also a bit concerned about the sale of adjoining land to raise funds - let's hope it doesn't pave the way for development. Even the proposed B&B, etc sounds potentially detrimental. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
14th September 2011ce
My first reaction too ...

I was also copied into this email recently and have copied the relevant part below. It sounds as though it will start to feel 'very busy' up there - though a discreet B&B, screened by trees, may be a real boon to people walking the Ridgeway.

"At its meeting next Tuesday, Swindon Council's Planning Committee is being asked to approve a planning brief for land owned by SBC near Barbury Castle. The land in question is to the east of Hackpen Lane. The brief divides the land into two parts. The southern part is the plot on which the former cafe, now burnt out and derelict, stands. The proposal is that one replacement dwelling be allowed on this site. The northern part of the site runs down as far as the junction with the byway shown on the OS map as Gypsy Lane. The proposal for this part of the site is that it be developed as accommodation for people wishing to stay overnight, possibly including a B&B, camping barns and a stable block. All of the buildings would be carefully designed to fit into the AONB.

The intention is that the money SBC obtain from the site disposal would be used to build the proposed new Barbury Castle Visitor Centre."

tjj Posted by tjj
14th September 2011ce
Thanks June, that's a really useful addition - sounds like my concerns may be unfounded. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
15th September 2011ce
Just came across a letter in the local paper The Swindon Advertiser written by a Mr Brian Burrows. Brian is 91 years old and was very active in the Save Coate campaign - he has raised some alarm bells in connection with the above news item:

Quote from letter:
(Re) The letter by RW (Adver, September 23) about the paving over (of) attractive green paths on an ancient site is one of grave concern.

Swindon Borough Council has decided to sell land surrounding the Iron Age fort of Barbury Castle. This is very worrying, as the council appears to have an urban culture and little understanding of the importance of our ancient past.
If we do not understand the past, it is difficult to understand the present and plan for the future.
What is of great importance is that this is one of the best preserved hill forts in Britain and the purchaser must have an understanding of the past and have the knowledge to preserve this important site. Any attempts to sell the site for such events as fairgrounds must be stopped.
When Wiltshire County Council owned this site it was in safe hands but then the tenants who looked after it were evicted. The people who took over showed little interest in this ancient site and worked to repair old cars. All protests about this were ignored.
Also the gates were not locked at night and the result was the destruction of the wonderful ancient (reconstructed) Celtic house. Later the cottage was burned down so it is clear Swindon Borough Council are not fit to own it and we must insist it can only be sold to an organisation who will protect this ancient site.
The plans to pave over the footpaths are a matter of grave concern and must be stopped.

I understand the footpath referred to is the track leading up to the hill fort and, as Mr Burrows pointed out, this is a matter for concern. I personally feel that the only acceptable improvement to this track would be to lay matting down which will become embedded - as with the approach to West Kennet Long Barrow.
tjj Posted by tjj
6th October 2011ce
Wonder what is going on here and what the various prehistoric societies and professional archaeologists are doing about it? It's become clear to me over the last 15 years or so of seriously looking at ancient monuments that the vast majority of so-called 'Iron Age Hill Forts' were originally ritual causeway enclosures, like Windmill Hill the forerunner of Avebury. If these vitally important prehistoric sites are allowed to be turned into 'Iron Age Theme Parks' or whatever it is Swindon Borough Council are planning it will a) give an entirely false picture of these earthworks and b) doom any remaining archaeology to be pulverised beneath heedless feet, council vehicles and god knows what temporary and permanent displays being hoisted up and down. Will these councils stop at nothing to raise revenue - what about protecting our unique historical heritage for example, isn't that their first duty? Posted by megalith6
17th August 2013ce
I was up there last weekend and there was no sign at all of any development. If and when it does take place, my understanding is it will not be anywhere immediately by the hill fort but around the existing car park and concealed on the other side of the road which leads to the car park. tjj Posted by tjj
17th August 2013ce
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